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1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat
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pmw42069
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:48 am    Post subject: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

Thank you to everyone who has been so responsive to my questions on here so far.

I'm once again looking for opinions between two potential Vanagons:

A 1990 Carat asking 9k vs a 1987 Westy camper with pop top asking 8k

The '90 carat owner says:

1990/1991 Volkswagen Vanagon GL. I bought this van a few years ago planning to fix it up and live the Vanlife, but I bought a house that is taking up all my "project" time. Super fun van. I have used it off and on as a daily driver. 4-speed manual transmission. It runs well and is great to bump around town.

The van is either a 1990 or 1991. Title says 1990, but I think it is a 1991. Doesn't really matter because they didn't chance the models from year to year. Odometer is broken so I cant say how many miles are actually on the vehicle. The previous owner rebuilt the engine and estimated that it had 200,000 miles on it when he got it and then he put on another 45,000. I have put less that 5,000 on it over 5 years. So I am estimating 250,000 total miles on vehicle and 50,000 on the rebuilt engine.

Over last 5 years I have made a number of upgrades. Mechanically I have replaced the radiator, front/rear brakes, master brake cylinder, got the AC overhauled, and installed a used working speedometer (although the tachometer does not work). Aesthetically, I have installed new front/rear bumpers, new interior door panels, and interior cup holders. I also got it a repainted light blue in 2015, but it needs to be repainted again.

If I were to keep the van these are the things I would likely get a new paint job and new instrument panel (to get a working odometer and tachometer).

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The 1987 Westy owner says:

Original 1987 Westy in decent condition. I bought this vehicle about 20 years ago, replaced the heads and head gaskets, and parked it in my shed. I'm not in love with Volkswagens or Westys, so it needs to move on to someone who is. California van that broke done in Nebraska, so no serious rust issues. Some paint bubbling on one rear corner seam, but not a big issue. Runs and drives, but has a bad idle surge. I would recommend trailering because of the time it sat idle and the age of tires and hoses. Shows 168k mi.

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A carat/weekender with pop top would be ideal. I like the versatility of the carat but want the standing room of the westy so which vehicle is the best one to start with?

If I was planning to eventually put a hightop on would the carat make more sense? Does the later year add more value? Or does the poptop?

The carat also seems to be more road ready, has been driven regularly and maintained versus the westy which has mostly been sitting in a barn but has an engine idle issue.

Thank you to everyone for reading and making this community so amazing. I'm excited to become a member again!
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

If you want a pop top, buy a pop top. Unfortunately the camper looks to either have a crappy gray respray or is in primer, so no telling what is below the surface. Finding a pop top and luggage rack to match is getting more difficult and it's not easily shipped. Plus average for a pop top local pickup is 1500 dollar range. With the 87 you get the pop top and interior cabinets thrown in.

I can't put my hand on what changes were between 87 and 90. An owner built engine is not necessarily the same as a pro built motor, so I'd not consider the engine in either one as a plus.
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pmw42069
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:11 am    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
If you want a pop top, buy a pop top. Unfortunately the camper looks to either have a crappy gray respray or is in primer, so no telling what is below the surface. Finding a pop top and luggage rack to match is getting more difficult and it's not easily shipped. Plus average for a pop top local pickup is 1500 dollar range. With the 87 you get the pop top and interior cabinets thrown in.

I can't put my hand on what changes were between 87 and 90. An owner built engine is not necessarily the same as a pro built motor, so I'd not consider the engine in either one as a plus.


What it my plan is to eventually high top it?
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0to60in6min
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:44 am    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

If both are equal or near equal on condition, I'd get the 87 Westy and give it a good paint job.

Quote:
What if my plan is to eventually high top it?


Then remove the poptop, put on a high top (the hole is already there). With the tintop you have cut/prepare the hole.

And then sell the poptop to recoup the investment.
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Yellow Rabbit
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:59 am    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

The Westy shows the original red paint where the gray is flaking off the roof and in the door jambs. Who knows whatís under there. Iím not sure whatís up with the 90. The seller calls it a GL, which is not a Carat. It has the Carat style table but lacks the body cladding and alloy wheels. Iím thinking it might be a base model with the table added. Itís hard to tell though. It also appears to be a repaint because the sliding door hinge should be black instead of body color.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:10 am    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

Then I would shop around for a hightop that is already done. Reading the Samba threads, you'd think we'd get the hightop or pop top installed in 26 mins go to commercial break and when we get back we will go camping.

Its super easy to start a project. Getting it across the finish line is another story.

If you are looking to get out on the road and camping. The path of least resistance is often the better path. If you want to spend the next 2 years building your dream expedition vehicle, then do that, it's likely nothing will be original when you are done so the vehicle you start with really won't matter.

This member started this thread back in Jan 2019.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=712964&start=0

I believe he is just about across the finish line. Beautiful execution.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

I know, I know......
we all say "I'm never selling this, this is my forever unit"
I said that very thing...... sold it two, three years ago.

That being said, the Westy will be the better investment.

$8,000 for an 87 Westy is CHEAP!
Sure, it needs $4-5,000 of parts to set it right but it will be worth $15-20,000.

The tintop?
That's a lot of coin for a tintop.

To set a tintop "right" costs about the same as setting a Westy "right", but when you're done,..... your $9,000 tintop MIGHT be worth $9,000.

Dave
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:35 pm    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:

To set a tintop "right" costs about the same as setting a Westy "right", but when you're done,..... your $9,000 tintop MIGHT be worth $9,000.


if you want a tin top to haul stuff or for cruising, that makes sense. if you want one to camp in, you will have a sore back and you are limited to one bed. when it comes time to sell, the tin top will have to compete against low end Westy's that need just a little bit investment to be solid.

i bought a tin top and then wanted a Westy. i got a Westy and took a bath on the sale of the tin top.

if you want a poptop or high top, start with a Westy.
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pjn_wyo
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:55 pm    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

camper.
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cmayna
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

To the OP,
What are you plans with the rig? Camping or just driving around? If any desire to camp, I'd go for a westy. Personally, I'd keep looking around, for the one you are considering looks like a real money pit.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:51 am    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

If both are four-speeds there is a transmission improvement to consider in the newer van. The 3-4 slider was improved in the mid-'89 model year, I think. The older one might have been rebuilt with that fix, or not.

I've owned an '87 Westy since '06 and briefly owned a '91 Westy along with it. Shifting on the '87 has always been slightly "crunchy" and the '91 shifted very smoothly by comparison, even with much higher mileage.
-----------------------------------

You don't need a camper for camping and if you plan to add a high roof you might prefer the versatility of an open interior of the later van. If you're planning to play with the van for a couple of years and sell it, the Westy will probably pay you back better at the end. If you've never owned a Westy, go ahead and get it out of your system.

But seeing each van in person might make the decision for you.
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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:02 am    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

Either one as long as you have a budget of about 10k to get them road worthy
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:14 am    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Either one as long as you have a budget of about 10k to get them road worthy


$10k if you do the work. Wink
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:17 am    Post subject: Re: 1987 Westy vs 1990 Carat Reply with quote

$10k if you think everything is perfect at first glance and you do the work.
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